Vegan and Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Is There a Difference?

Vegan and cruelty-free are two labels that get a great deal of attention by both the media and consumers. They often get used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion because one cannot necessarily be used for the other.

What is Vegan?

The “vegan” label is one of the most popular terms that consumers look for when they purchase products such as cosmetics. In 2017, vegan cosmetics sales jumped 100 percent with people aged 16 to 34 years of age noting that they find animal welfare very concerning, according to Mintel, a retail research company.
In order for cosmetics to be labeled as being vegan, it must not contain any products derived from an animal nor can it contain any animal ingredients. This means that makeup that is tested on animals can still claim to be vegan if they don’t contain any animal products. However, a vegan product might still be tested on animals before being released to the market.

What is Cruelty-Free?

In contrast to the vegan label — which refers to the ingredients that comprise a product — the cruelty-free label denotes the process of testing. Makeup that sports the cruelty-free label means that none of its ingredients or components, as well as the final product, has been tested on animals. However, a cruelty-free product could still contain ingredients derived from animals so it wouldn’t necessarily be vegan.

The Confusion

Sometimes confusion arises because there are no standardized definitions of what a product means when it carries the vegan label. To many people, vegan cosmetics are those that don’t have any ingredients derived from animals. Others see the vegan label and think it means that the makeup doesn’t have any animal products nor has it exploited animals during the manufacturing, development or testing phases.
In reality, this thought process is actually referring to cruelty-free testing and not necessarily to whether or not a product is vegan.
As companies move toward a more animal-friendly approach and legacy, it’s important to partner with a business that offers products that support the appropriate label.
As a pioneer in the development and application of cruelty-free testing methods, InVitro International has been meeting the needs of animal-conscious companies since 1985. InVitro International provides a range of products and services that companies can utilize to meet those goals. Contact us today for more information.